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tv   The Last Word  MSNBC  January 2, 2012 10:00pm-11:00pm EST

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i promise it will be a long, fun night. now it's time for "the last word with lawrence o'donnell." have a great night. rick santorum really said this in his closing argument for why he should be president of the united states -- quote, sometimes the best isn't that great, but it's the best. >> who is a true conservative in this race? >> i hate to break to it you iowans, but the good lord himself is not running. >> i believe in america. and i'm running for president of the united states. >> mitt romney in the lead with 24%. >> there will be blood if mitt romney seems like the guy that's going to walk away with it. >> none of us conservatives want mitt romney. >> the more iowans see of mitt romney, the worse he does. >> why won't mitt romney speak french? does anybody know? >> i am a candidate for the presidency in the republican
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party primary. >> a new poll from the des moines register shows paul is in second place. >> ron paul wants to destroy virtually the entire government. >> they don't care about your personal liberty. >> i'm running for president of the united states. >> rick santorum has soared to third place with 15%, something a gop strategist has called a bombshell. >> i'm announcing my candidacy for president of the united states. >> you bring up newt gingrich. >> gingrich said he'd been romney-boated. >> i don't think i'm going to win. >> he's like freddy koorueger, keeps coming back. >> rick perry would decimate various departments if he can remember which ones. >> to announce formally my candidacy for president. >> i think michele bachmann is going to have the worst finish any winner of the iowa straw poll has ever said. >> i came her to declare my candidacy for the republican
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party of the president of the united states. >> crazy never wins in the republican party. >> if you don't run christ, chr christie, romney will be the nominee. today, one iowan wanted to know why during the 2008 presidential campaign rick santorum endorsed mitt romney instead of the more conservative and eventual winner mike huckabee. >> isn't it disingenuous to tell us not to settle when you did four years ago? >> i'm telling you the pick the more conservative of the candidates. it's not to settle for something less than what you believe is the best. and yet sometimes the best isn't that great, but it's the best. and as i've said, i'm not a perfect candidate. but i would make the argument that i believe that we're the best alternative out there. in the case of governor romney and john mccain, i settled for
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what i thought was the best alternative out there. >> while santorum was going after romney for being too liberal, ron paul and his senator son turned the liberal attack on santorum. >> he's very liberal. >> rick santorum is liberal? >> oh, have you looked at his record? go look at his record. >> what makes him liberal? >> he spends too much money. he wasn't leading the charge to slash the budgets and vote against big government. >> he voted to double the size of the department of education. he voted to expand medicare and add free drugs for senior citizens and he's voted for foreign aid. those are not conservative principles. >> tonight fox news is aiming its big guns at ron paul. >> even if the congressman does do well, he will not, will not be the republican nominee. because his positions on many issues are simply outlandish. ron paul with his soft approach
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to iran, his gold standard madness and other extreme positions is not going to be nominated by the republican party simply because president obama would beat mr. paul by a colossal margin. >> tonight in iowa, mitt romney is hoping that his public confidence would be contagious. >> you guys, i need you tomorrow night. i need every single vote in this room and i need you to get a couple of other votes from your neighborhood and get them to caucus. i need a great showing here at cedar rapids. we're going to win this thing with all of our passion and strength and do everything we can to get this campaign on the right track to go across the nation and to pick up other states and to get the ballots i need, the votes i need to become our nominee. that's what we're going to get with your help. >> this weekend's much-anticipated des moines register poll showed huckabee and obama leading on the eve of their victories in iowa.
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shows mitt romney narrowly leading ron paul by two points with santorum polling third. when you only use the data from the last two days of polling in this fast-moving race, santorum jumps to second, three points behind romney. that's within the margin of error. paul drops to third with 18% support. a new american research group poll of likely iowa caucusgoers shows romney with a more comfortable five-point lead over ron paul. santorum polls third in that one with 16% and gingrich is running fourth in that one at 15%. joining me now from the polk county convention center in des moines, david gregory, moderator of nbc's "meet the press" and andrea mitchell, host of nbc's "andrea mitchell reports" and nbc news chief foreign affairs correspondent. we're beyond the polls now, and the voters continue to move after we stopped polling them.
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what is your sense of where the movement is going since the pollsters stopped? >> well, i think santorum does have a lot of momentum right now. you see it out on the hustings with senator santorum. but i think romney, too, is showing a lot of strength. we simply don't know. on the republican side, they're doing callbacks, trying to gauge that level of intensity. they're doing a lot of crowd estimates and trying to judge enthusiasm. but there's a great deal of both intensity but a lot of questions. there are so many undecided voters, a lot of volatility. we've been talking about it for weeks. look how many republicans have been up and then down, all is that alternative to romney. here's the point of strength for romney tonight. that is his opponent is not a candidate. it's a constellation of social conservatives. nobody has yet totally emerged and then separate from that, you have ron paul. i talked to a prominent
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republican today who said, you trust that iowa poll because it's been right in the past, it shows a combination of romney, paul and santorum being in that top tier. but this republican also cautioned, perry could still make some noise here and defy some expectations. >> that's right. >> andrea, of all the campaigns that are working in iowa tonight, the romney campaign was the one campaign of that group that actually considered not even making an effort in iowa, not really going in, not looking, at least, like they were trying to win iowa. huntsman has obviously stayed out of it. but to see him tonight fighting for the lead in iowa was something that didn't seem possible months ago. >> and predicting he could win when they tried so hard successfully to lower expectations, not coming in here, doing almost a stealth campaign here. and then coming in with big guns, spending a lot of time here, not doing as much bussing from county to county, 99 counties as both rick santorum
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did and some of the other candidates. but at the same time, he has built a very effective organization here. he campaigned actively here even in losing four years ago. and he had a lot of organizational strength. the main thing that we're seeing is that rick santorum is not only surging but he's gaining his voice as a candidate. and tonight we see that there's a tweet from rupert murdoch of all people saying that rick santorum is the man. that could be the first signal that conservatives, moving conservatives are now going to try to get around santorum as perhaps a "stop romney" movement. >> david, conservative media mogul rupert murdoch has been tweeting for three days now, starting on new year's eve, and he's already found it to be contagious. there was one i read this morning where he said, good to see santorum surging in iowa, regardless of policies, all debates showed principles, consistency and humility like no other.
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not exactly an endorsement. and then murdoch tweets later tonight -- can't resist this tweet, but all iowans think about rick santorum. only candidate with genuine big vision for country. now, when you say only candidate with big vision, that's as close to endorsement as you get. >> right. >> i think it's significant. and if you're rick santorum and you're canvassing the state and you're going to the pizza barn and fox news is playing at the bar, that kind of thing matters. what's different about iowa, as you well know, these are real party stalwarts. these are activists, these are people that are going to the lengths of caucusing. that's a lot of work. some of this could have some impact. there's been no reliable alternative to romney. santorum may be catching the
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wave at exactly the right time. here's what the romney folks say. okay, fine, do you really think that rick santorum is going to be the nominee of the party? this is a guy who's worked iowa incredibly hard, gone to all 99 counties. he can't have 500-plus town hall meetings in florida. if this is a game that lengthens a little bit, it's more to romney's advantage. the reality is, first, second or third, if romney succeeds in exceeding expectations here, which everybody says is the name of the game here and he seems to have already done that, then this is going to be a good night for him. >> and romney has the money. santorum doesn't have the money to go the distance. >> andrea, what about the money case? here is romney trying to make the case backstage to all of us, the romney campaign and publicly that, look, santorum, no matter how well he does, doesn't have the money or the resources to go all the way. i, romney, do. he's doing that. in the middle of a campaign where someone came in with a massive amount of money from texas and collapsed completely,
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rick perry came in with more money than anybody could count and it hasn't mattered a bit. >> money has mattered in terms of the commercials because the commercials have been very effective. the super pac supporting mitt romney did in newt gingrich. gingrich contributed to his own failure as a candidate, which he acknowledged here in iowa today, even though he says he's going on. and he has two debates coming up in new hampshire. and debates have been his good form. but he's short on money, short on strength. he looks almost like a stricken man in the way he's been conducting his candidacy in the last couple of days. gingrich has certainly been hit hard by the money factor. this iowa caucus has not been like past iowa caucuses. it hasn't been small and folksy. we'll see what happens tomorrow night when people actually get together and vote. but up until now, it has had a lot of the apparatus of a big primary campaign with all this money and these big ads. >> could i just add to that, lawrence, that the dynamic of
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perry falling short of expectations almost right away completely reshaped this race. this was supposed to be a romney/perry race. and it has not turned out to be that at all. but the note of caution about romney, there's plenty of room for surprise in iowa and as we move forward. the reality is that romney is still a weak front-runner. he may not have a solid number two that he's running against. but he's still a weak front-runner which is why he has good potential scenarios coming out of iowa. but it doesn't change the fact that the floor beneath him is still a little bit fragile. >> david, you bring up a good point about the perry collapse. the front-runners are the front-runners tonight in iowa because of a series of collapses that you couldn't see coming. rick perry coming into iowa and collapsing quickly, despite all the money. michele bachmann winning the iowa straw poll and then collapsing. and then with this final collapse that we saw in december with newt gingrich, let's just
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listen to newt gingrich exactly one month ago, december 1st, talking about his prospects in a way that made sense at the time. >> i'm going to be the nominee. it's very hard not to look at the recent polls and think that the odds are very high i'm going to be the nominee. >> and now let's listen to the way newt gingrich is talking about his prospects of winning now. >> i don't think i'm going to win. i think you look at the numbers, i think that volume of negativity's done enough damage. whatever i do tomorrow night will be a victory because i'm still standing. >> andrea, have we seen a candidacy like this, that in 30 days goes from "i'm going to be the nominee" to "if i'm still standing, that's the best i can hope for"? >> i can't think of one. there have been seven changes of lead in this race since may. that's extraordinary. i think you could have predicted the collapse of herman cain and
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after that first debate, the rick perry collapse. newt gingrich was a little bit more unpredictable. he had ha near-death experience with his campaign last spring. and then came back and resurrected himself. this past month, it's been amazing to see what's happened. but he's his own worst enemy in many cases. we've known that over the decades. he isn't a man that his former colleagues say has 100 ideas and maybe several of them are actually good ideas. he doesn't have the intellectual discipline to stick to the themes that are really most compelling to the people, especially here in iowa. all of this said, lawrence, this is a year where you see it, you feel it, everywhere we go, people are angry, they're upset. they feel completely abandoned by both political parties in washington and congress in particular. and there's a real hunger for answers. i think you may see more turnout than we all expect.
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certainly the republican party is seeing a big registration increase, upwards, more than 30,000 new registrants. you may see independents coming and registering on the spot tomorrow night. then when they begin talking and listening to the speeches, people may be influenced and still are saying that they could be persuaded to change sides. so this is very unpredictable but it's very meaningful in that these are the first votes that are going to be cast and people want change. look at the debates and the people who are watching shows like david's on "meet the press" and the debate that david is doing on sunday in new hampshire. all the debates have had extraordinary viewership. this is a time when americans know this is serious business. >> and we're reminded of how little we know. an undecided voter said to me today, i probably won't decide until the very last minute. why would you decide anytime before then? it underscores what we don't know and how volatile this race
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still is. >> why would that voter want to make it easy for us? >> exactly. >> andrea mitchell and david gregory, thank you for joining me tonight from iowa. >> you bet. coming up, how do you sell yourself as someone who knows how to create jobs when your career was built on outsourcing or getting rid of jobs? our next guest was laid off by mitt romney. and the gop presidential candidates are making promises on the campaign trail that are impossible to keep because the constitution says they're impossible to keep. what the candidates pretend not to know about governing. congressman barney frank is going to join me on that one. and full coverage of the iowa caucuses starts tomorrow night at 6:00 p.m. eastern right here on msnbc. [ other merv ] welcome back to the cleaning games. let's get a recap, merv. [ merv ] thanks, other merv.
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mitt romney wants you to believe he knows a little something about job creation. but his history as an investment banker tells a very different story. a worker who lost his job because of mitt romney will join me next. and we'll tell you what more americans than ever before chose to put under their christmas trees this season. sales of this product were up 100% this christmas. try to guess what it is. that's in the "rerun." what's with you? trouble with a car insurance claim. [ dennis ] switch to allstate. their claim service is so good, now it's guaranteed. [ foreman ] so i can trust 'em. unlike randy. dollar for dollar, nobody protects you like allstate.
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i'm proud of the private sector. there's no question but that speaker gingrich and much more significantly, the dnc and president obama are going to put free enterprise on trial. >> the recurring bain of mitt romney's campaign, bain capital. while romney says he helped to create tens of thousands of jobs as ceo of the private equity firms, others say that's not the case. the democratic national committee has flown in one of those dissenters to iowa this week. we'll talk to him in just a moment. full disclosure here. bain capital and nbc universal are part owners of the weather channel. how that impacts this segment, i have no idea. but it's stuck in all of our prompters whenever bain capital comes up now. in 1992, bain capital bought american pad and paper. by 2000, ampad was bankrupt.
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hundreds had lost their jobs and romney and the rest of the investors were $100 million richer. for a candidate who touts his private sector experience, this history may be a tough sell for some voters, especially with the national unemployment rate at 8.6%. layoffs at ampda helped senator ted kennedy squash mitt romney's 1994 senatorial campaign. here's a 1994 anti-romney ad featuring workers who lost their job after romney's firm bought their company. >> he's cut our wages to put money back into his pocket. >> you're not creating jobs. you're taking them away from us to put money in your pocket. >> he just wants to take money out of your pocket and put it in his. >> right. >> i'd like to say to the people of massachusetts, if you think it can't happen to you, think again. >> joining me now is randy johnson who lost his job at ampad plant in indiana after bain capital bought the company.
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he was flown into iowa this week by the democratic national committee. thanks for joining me tonight, randy. >> glad to be here. >> i remember that 1994 senate campaign in massachusetts that romney was doing very well until ted kennedy started concentrating on what he had actually done as an investment banker and the way people lost their jobs, not just the number of jobs, but the actual style of it. could you tell your story about how you lost your job once bain took over? >> yeah, quickly, ampad is a subsidiary of bain. they bought my plant in '94. it was called an asset sale. they come in, bought the assets and they did not have anything to do with the employees. if you wanted to work for us, you had to fill out on application. they brought in guards and walked us out of the building. it was a really bad time. >> and the personal communication that some of you got from mitt romney as you were being laid off, wasn't there? >> actually there was a letter sent to me when they decided to
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close the plant back then. it was kind of apologetic but by the same token it was on the day the plant closed so it was a little late to help us. >> when you see mitt romy making hundreds of billions of dollars over the course of his career doing this kind of business, you can reasonably say in effect that his presidential campaign has been launched on the lost jobs of all those workers that were laid off and these kinds of transactions so that his company could take hundreds of millions of dollars in profit out of these deals. that's how these deals were done. this seems to me to be a very strange year for a candidate like that to be a front-runner in either party, where you're basically running on the money you saved and the money you earned and put away and took home by laying people off in this economy. >> right. it was really a bad time because as they basically put us out of work and they put the company out of business, they also sold
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stock in the company. they made a fortune. and we were like, why can't we have this for american workers? they took the money. we don't know. it's not disclosed. >> going back to the kennedy campaign because i think that's one of the models that we're going to see, especially if romney is the nominee against president obama, that campaign, i think, very effectively framed this issue in a way that wasn't anti-capitalist, it wasn't anything that was against the way money is made in this economy so much as what is the responsibility to workers in this country from the employer's standpoint. isn't that the best way to frame this discussion? >> i think it is. and the fact of the matter is, what is the right thing? what is morally right? what is fundamentally right? what kind of future do we want for this country and is that the kind of person you want leading? it's a big difference.
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and kennedy framed that up very well in '94. >> they'll be watching those kennedy tapes at the obama headquarters. randy johnson, thank you very much for joining us tonight. >> thank you. coming up, the must-have gift of christmas 2011. did you get one? it's not what you think, except it's probably maybe exactly what some of you think and it does not require batteries. that's in "the rewrite". and barney frank will be my guest as we look at the kinds of promises the republican presidential candidates keep making and cannot keep when they get into office. [ male announcer ] how can power consumption in china, impact wool exports from new zealand, textile production in spain, and the use of medical technology in the u.s.? at t. rowe price, we understand the connections of a complex, global economy. it's just one reason over 75% of our mutual funds beat their 10-year lipper average. t. rowe price. invest with confidence. request a prospectus or summary prospectus with investment information, risks, fees and expenses
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if you're having a baby, you've got to figure out like how you want to raise your baby or whatever. which wouldn't even -- still not be an issue for us because we'd be honest, you know? and just say, like, mommy is one of the chosen people. [ laughter ] and daddy believe that is jesus is magic. [ laughter ] >> and now for the best tweet of the year, sarah silverman who is not known for parental wisdom recently tweeted -- don't tell kids girls can be anything. they wouldn't have thought otherwise, just raise them strong, dummy. i registered my full agreement by retweeting sarah silverman's tweet without comment. that provoked kenneth drexler to tweet this today -- sarah
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silverman, lawrence, you are annoying. that is the first and only time i have ever been equated with sarah silverman in any way. and so thank you, kenneth drexler, for the best tweet i've received so far this year in 2012. and the most read story in the british newspaper "the telegraph"? what americans bought each other for christmas. that story also tells us americans why we should be more afraid of each other than we were before christmas. that's in tonight's "rewrite". and there's a lot the republican candidates don't know about governing, including stuff that every high school student in america is supposed to know. barney frank knows it and will explain it next. [ female announcer ] this is not a prescription.
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this country lives in denial during a presidential campaign. the leaders of that denial are the presidential candidates. the cheerleaders of that denial are the political news media. they deny the most important aspect of the design of our government for pretty much every minute of the two years that we drown in presidential campaigning. today, one brave truth-teller tried to break the spell of denial that has gripped the country. >> it's constitutionally impossible to govern without congress. >> presidential candidates, democrat and republican, never say that, never. they every admit it. they always say what they are going to do as if they are running for king. and the press lets them get away with it day in and day out. >> i will get the government out of your health care by repealing obamacare.
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i will repeal obamacare. i'm going to get rid of obamacare on day one. >> i will cut spending. i will repeal obamacare. i will reduce the size of the federal government. and i'll abolish the federal tax code and i will get rid of crony capitalism that contains the special interest carveouts. >> joining me now is massachusetts congressman barney frank, the ranking member of the house financial services committee. congressman frank, i have to tell you, these presidential campaigns drive me crazy when they say these things, these simple declara tif sentences as if they're going to be king or queen "i will do this" and completely ignore congress' role. it drives me nuts and i'm not even a member of congress. what is it like for you when these people pretend to live in this fantasy land of governance? >> when i listen to the things
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they're saying, they seem wacky. i think the paradox is this -- you're absolutely right about the misstatement. and you blame the candidates and you blame the media. and i agree with both those. but you have to throw in one other party that's probably responsible. and that's the voters. the problem is this, being good at working with the congress, understanding how to get the government to function, knowing how to make things work is an important qualifies for the job. but in the atmosphere we live in today and probably which we have always lived in which politics is a bad word and congress is -- especially after the tea party -- people talk about how unpopular congress s. let's be clear. the biggest single event that happened after which there was this enormous decline in congress' popularity was the domination in the house of representatives by people who are either in the tea party or were afraid of losing a primary to someone who's in the tea party.
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but the public does not want you to talk about one of the most important parts of the job. that's one of the reasons why you don't hear more honest discussion about, here's what i would do and here's how i would work with congress. i have to say, that's a theme of mine. i know the public is, i'm told, unhappy. there were aspects of the public's behavior i'm not that crazy about myself. i didn't decide in 2008 to vote for one group and then in 2010 to vote for another group and then be puzzled when you have put two very different groups of people into a position of sharing power and they don't get along with each other. >> just to give the full frame to gingrich's comment, he wasn't suddenly unburdening himself of this truth voluntarily. it was really an attack on president obama where he was responding to something that emerged in "the new york times" this weekend. i'm going to read you the quote from "the times" where it says, in terms of the president's relationship with congress in 2012, the president is no longer
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tied to washington, d.c., winning a full four-year extension of the cut in payroll taxes as the last must-do piece of legislation for the white house after three years in office, mr. obama is gambling on a go-it-alone approach. in the coming weeks, he will further showcase measures he's taking on his own to revive the economy. that is the context in which gingrich was commenting about the president can't do these things alone. >> not surprising it's coming from newt gingrich, it's hypocritical. you try to denounce the institution, by trying to tear it down, by demonizing it and he did it from within the house. that's clearly how he -- he was explicit about that. he would gain power by changing this notion in which we -- on different sides of issues where decent people who differed with each other but to them, your enemy is always somebody evil. as far as the president is
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concerned, frankly, my answer to that is, it's about time. the one -- i have two criticisms to make of president obama about whom i'm generally very enthusiastic and who i think has done an excellent job. particularly, he's made a bad economy better and if it hadn't been for tea party obstructionists it would have been better still. i think he's been too reluctant to break with this decades of american expansion militarily for beyond what's needed. but secondly, he was too trusting of the republicans. when he ran, he said he was going to govern in a post-partisan manner. now, that's an ideal. but knowing how right wing the republican party has come, as we've seen from these presidential debates, i told one of his aides when he said he was going to govern in a post-partisan manner, i told him i got post-partisan depression. i said you were going to have
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these anti-public opinion kind of people in charge. what he's saying now is simply a recognition of the fact. look, rick santorum is being attacked by rick perry -- this republican presidential primary campaign is wonderful to watch. i have to say, i'm undecided -- i heard david slip, he said newt in mass instead of newton, iowa. i'm here in newton, mass, right now. rick santorum gets attacked by rick perry because he voted to raise the debt limit. raising the debt limit is a very routine thing that every sensible person understands we have to do. it's only in this context of this extreme right wing takeover of the republican party that that becomes controversial. so what president obama said was in effect, you know what, i suggested that maybe the democratic slogan this year should be, we're not perfect, but they're nuts. and essentially that's what the president was saying.
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there's no reason to expect a party that has been so taken over by the most extreme right wing elements in america to be able to cooperate with them. >> going to print the bumper stickers now. barney frank, joining us from newton, massachusetts, thank you very much for joining us tonight. >> thank you, lawrence. and sales of what christmas gift went up 100% this christmas season? hint -- you couldn't get one at an apple store. and, it's more american than apple pie. and it's next in "the rewrite." and more on iowa later. havia ha hais such a bles. not financially. so we switched to the bargain detergent, and i found myself using three times more than they say to and the clothes still weren't as clean as with tide. so we're back to tide. they're cuter in clean clothes. that's my tide. what's yours? ♪ let's go ♪
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now you can feel what happens as we raise your sleep number setting and allow the bed to contour to your individual shape. oh yeah. it's really shaping to my body. right now, save up to $800 on selected 2011 sleep number bed sets. you can adjust it however you want so you don't have to worry about buying the wrong mattress. once they get our bed, they're like, "why didn't i do this sooner?" hurry this week to the year-end closeout event and save on the bed that can change your life. the sleep number bed. only at the sleep number store, where queen bed sets now start at just $899. what's the gift that more americans than ever before decided was just right for this christmas season? no, it was not desks for kids in malawi. but i might squeeze that in to what we talk about next. going to talk about next the good news and the bad news of the christmas shopping season. that's in "the rewrite" next.
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[ male announcer ] you never know when a moment might turn into something more. and when it does men with erectile dysfunction can be more confident in their ability to be ready with cialis for daily use. cialis for daily use is a clinically proven low-dose tablet you take every day, so you can be ready anytime the moment's right. ♪ [ man ] tell your doctor about all your medical conditions and medications and ask if your heart is healthy enough for sexual activity. don't take cialis if you take nitrates for chest pain as this may cause an unsafe drop in blood pressure. [ man ] do not drink alcohol in excess with cialis. side effects may include headache, upset stomach, delayed backache or muscle ache. to avoid long-term injury seek immediate medical help for an erection lasting more than 4 hours. if you have any sudden decrease or loss in hearing or vision, stop taking cialis and call your doctor right away. [ male announcer ] ask your doctor if cialis for daily use is right for you. for a 30-tablet free trial offer, go to cialis.com. [ merv ] mr. clean magic eraser extra power
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was three times faster on permanent marker. it looks like mr. clean has won everything. the cleaning games are finished? and so are we. [ male announcer ] clean more, work less, with the mr. clean magic eraser extra power. my feet and exactly where i needed more support. i had tired, achy feet. until i got my number. my dr. scholl's custom fit orthotics number. now i'm a believer. you'll be a believer, too. learn where to find your number at drscholls.com. sales were up for the christmas retail season 4.7% over the year before. the big winners were gift card sales, up 18%, and internet sales up 15%. but guess what was up 100%? come on. you can figure this out. think about it. what's more thrilling than a gift card and, yes, way more thrilling than some self-help book delivered to you by amazon?
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hint -- we're the only country in the world where this could happen. nowhere else on earth did people buy 100% more of this thing as a christmas gift this year. in fact, this kind of shopping spree would be illegal in most countries. come on, what's more american than apple pie? apple pie sales were not up 100% this year. time's almost up. i'm going to restate the question for you. what category of christmas sales was up 100% this year? and here's your final hint -- it is the only christmas shopping product category mentioned in the constitution of the united states of america. there you go, you got it. that's right. the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. and it is so not infringed in
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this country that gun sales were up 100% this season. it was the biggest gun sales christmas season ever. on the first big day of christmas shopping, the day after thanksgiving, black friday, we set a new one-day record of nearly 130,000 requests for background checks on gun buyers. and that background checks number understates the number of guns that were sold that day because one background check allows you to buy several guns in the same store and because many, many guns are legally sold without any background checks at gun shows and elsewhere. no word yet when business reporters are going to rewrite the name of black friday to gun friday. december 23rd then became the second busiest gun-selling day of all time with over 100,000 background checks being run that day. one-third of the 1.5 million
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background checks run in december were requested in the final six days prior to christmas. the good people at the national rifle association lobbying group that works hard to make sure that americans can continue to kill each other with guns whenever they feel like it tried to put a rational spin on american gun madness saying an increase in gun sales might be linked to an increase in fear of crime, even though the latest fbi data show a 6% drop in violent crimes. so in the unique logic of the national rifle association lobbyists, a 6% drop in violent crime would logically lead to a 100% increase in the purchase of guns. nothing complicated there, just simple n.r.a. lobbyist math. on a brighter christmas shopping note, in the same country where we ran 1.5 million
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background checks on gun buyers in december, in that same december, we also raised $1.5 million for the permanent cause of this show, the k-i-n-d-fund, kids in need of desks. that additional money will allow us to fund and build 32,654 desks using african resources, african factories in africa and deliver those desks to schools in malawi where the teachers and students have never seen desks. all the research shows that fewer and fewer people are actually owning more and more guns. so many of the gun sales this christmas season simply added to the stockpiles of arms people already have in their homes. to those people, the people with many guns, i would like to
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remind you, you can only fire one gun at a time. you already have enough guns to defend yourself and kill anyone you want to kill. next christmas, why not buy a kid a desk? i remember the day my doctor told me i have an irregular heartbeat, and that it put me at 5-times greater risk of a stroke. i was worried. i worried about my wife, and my family. bill has the most common type of atrial fibrillation, or afib. it's not caused by a heart valve problem. he was taking warfarin, but i've put him on pradaxa instead. in a clinical trial, pradaxa 150 mgs reduced stroke risk 35%
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more than warfarin without the need for regular blood tests. i sure was glad to hear that. pradaxa can cause serious, sometimes fatal, bleeding. don't take pradaxa if you have abnormal bleeding, and seek immediate medical care for unexpected signs of bleeding, like unusual bruising. pradaxa may increase your bleeding risk if you're 75 or older, have a bleeding condition like stomach ulcers, or take aspirin, nsaids, or bloodthinners, or if you have kidney problems, especially if you take certain medicines. tell your doctor about all medicines you take, any planned medical or dental procedures, and don't stop taking pradaxa without your doctor's approval, as stopping may increase your stroke risk. other side effects include indigestion, stomach pain, upset, or burning. pradaxa is progress. if you have afib not caused by a heart valve problem, ask your doctor if you can reduce your risk of stroke with pradaxa. the two trains and a bus rider. the "i'll sleep when it's done" academic.
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>> iowa has always win knnowed field. it's all about expectations here. if you're not in the top three, you're making a big mistake and i told jon huntsman that. he made a tragic mistake by not campaigning here. >> half of iowa winners since 1976 have gone on to win the gop nomination. gerald ford in 1976, bob dole in 1996 and george w. bush in 2000. only once was the iowa republican winner elected president, george w. bush. joining me now from des moines, iowa, is john heilman, editor for "new york" magazine and an msnbc contributor. the record, especially on the republican side of the iowa caucus in delivering a nominee is not good. what remains the case for campaigning in iowa? >> well, lawrence, i think
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actually the governor has kind of a point. there is a process here by which the field does get winnowed. we've seen that it ultimately does produce a president or a nominee. i think there's no -- there is no nominating system that is a perfect nominating system. and the one that we currently live with is one where there's an attempt at geographic diversity, by having the first four early states be iowa, new hampshire, south carolina and nevada. the year florida kind of skipped the line a little bit. but to have a system where you have four early states that are all small enough that candidates can compete who don't have enormous financial resources, there's a case for that, for why you would want to do that. a lot of people say, it would be better if you had more demographic diversity, more racial or ethnic diversity. but the main places in america where you have ethnic diversity, would cost you many, many, many millions of dollars.
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if you tried to campaign in california, it would cost you $100 million. it would exclude all but the richest candidates. there is a case for why you want a state that is small and cheap to start the contest off. >> and an even smaller state is new hampshire, which we all in the media love to go to because it's so small and we can run around and see the entire campaign in one day. let's listen to how jon huntsman compares iowa and new hampshire. >> they pick corn in iowa. they actually pick presidents here in new hampshire. >> john, 24 hours from now, we're all going to have shifted our focus to new hampshire already by the time we get to 11:00 p.m. tomorrow night. is huntsman right about this? >> well, i think historically speaking it's been the case that winners in new hampshire have gone on to win nominations and have gone on to win the presidency more such than winners from iowa. so i think he's fact chully just as a matter of history, i think he's right about that.
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i don't necessarily think it's going to be the case that it's going to work out that well for jon huntsman. but i think he's making a historically accurate observation. >> john, what are the signs we should be looking for tomorrow as the day wears on before we get into the real vote-counting that takes us out of guesswork? >> i think the first thing everyone will wake up and do tomorrow is look at the weather. apart from the last 24 hours, it's been unseasonably warm for the last week or so. and it's supposed to be nice. that bodes well for a candidate like mitt romney who is presumed to have a broad base of support, relatively broad, whatever support he has, but not deep and not passionate. these are not people who would walk through a wall for him. on a snowy, blustery, bitterly cold day, romney might be at a disadvantage. if it's nice, he has some advantage. people will be looking at turnout numbers. i've been hearing all day long that people are expecting
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historically high turnout tomorrow, figures as high as 140,000 people. four years ago, it was about 115,000 or 120,000 on the republican side. if turnout numbers are that high, that could also favor mitt romney in the sense that more mainstream republicans, less hard-core republicans coming out. i think another key thing that people will be looking for is what's the proportion of independents who show up, not republicans at all. that could help ron paul a lot. he polls very well among nontraditional republicans and independents who will show up and call themselves republicans for the day f. there's a high percentage of them, it might auger very well for a paul resurgence here at the last minute, maybe even being able to put himself in the top one or two spots. >> it is only fitting that john gets the last word on iowa on iowa eve here on "the last word" on msnbc. thanks for joining us. >> thank you, lawrence. >> our msnbc coverage of the iowa caucuses begins tuesday evening at 6:00 p.m. eastern.
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